File this under "well, that took 16 surprising years" but Canon has graced our mornings with a shiny, SHINY new 100-400mm IS today.
Pretty much everything about the lens that could be upgraded has been. The quirky push-pull is gone, replaced with a traditional twisting zoom ring. But the stiffness and response of that zoom ring is still customizable, so, you can tweak how racking your 100-400 out works best for you. It has also switched to internal focusing, giving it yet another touch of the premium the original model was oddly lacking. The optical formula has jumped from 17 elements in 14 groups up to 21 elements in 16 groups, which has added only a few millimeters to the product but a sure-to-be-felt half pound to the weight. The trade-off for the extra time in the gym is a drop in minimum focusing distance from nearly 6 feet to just over 3 feet (bumping the maximum reproduction ratio up to .31x), and MTF charts that promise big, big things:
We'll have to wait and see how those pan out in the real world of course, but Canon is suggesting quite a notable increase in performance across the board at 100mm, with the sorta changes that will lead to it being visibly sharper across the frame. 400mm sees a less dramatic increase in sharpness performance, but should have a cleaner look especially in out of focus areas as they clean up the various astigmatisms on the graph a bit.
If you weren't already suspecting it, a new model with more glass and performance after a period of time long enough for an American child to grow up and start driving does come with a price hike. The new EF 100-400mm f/4-5,6L IS II USM will run $2,199.99 next month when it starts shipping, which is $500 more than the $1,699.99 price the outgoing model is sitting at. But chin up, Canonistas, that's still also $500 less than Nikon's equivalent offering in their camp.
If the price isn't too salty for you, and a better 100-400 is exactly the thing you've been waiting on, we're taking preorders now. No charge to preorder, and we'll call you once we have one for you and arrange payment only at that time. If you choose to or need to decline, you're free to do so and we don't tie up your funds in the interim.